Month: December 2020

U.S. solar prices fall to record low on Arizona deal

first_imgU.S. solar prices fall to record low on Arizona deal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Records don’t last long in the cleantech business.Just days ago, we were reporting that the Central Arizona Project (CAP) had secured the lowest confirmed solar price in the U.S., when it approved a 20-year power-purchase agreement at $24.99 per megawatt-hour. That’s setting aside an Austin Energy PPA from December that could be lower, but has more ambiguous terms.That Arizona record is already under threat from projects that utility NV Energy selected as part of its integrated resource planning. The portfolio of 1,001 megawatts of solar capacity and 100 megawatts/400 megawatt-hours of energy storage still needs approval from Nevada’s utility regulators. If that happens, the lowest confirmed U.S. solar price would be Sempra Renewables’ Copper Mountain Solar 5 project at $21.55 per megawatt-hour. That 250-megawatt project, though, has a 2.5 percent annual escalation as part of its 25-year contract, so the low upfront price wouldn’t last.Instead, we can turn to 8minutenergy’s 300-megawatt Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar Farm, which clocks in at a flat rate of $23.76 per megawatt-hour throughout its 25-year PPA term. That comfortably beats the CAP project on pricing, while delivering 10 times the capacity. It also marks a substantial improvement on the $29.50 per megawatt-hour median pricing for standalone solar PV in Xcel’s famous solicitation six months ago.The groundbreaking pricing was achieved through sophisticated design and engineering, but also reflects how far solar equipment and installation practices have come, 8minutenergy CEO and founder Martin Hermann wrote in an email. “Eagle Shadow Mountain is unique because it’s located in an area of great solar irradiance and with remarkable access to transmission assets,” he said. “We are able to benefit from low interconnection costs, for example, by utilizing transmission assets that had previously been allocated for the Reid Gardner coal plant, ensuring that those assets are not stranded.”More: Nevada’s 2.3-cent bid beats Arizona’s record-low solar PPA pricelast_img read more

Middlebury College votes to divest from fossil fuels

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Burlington Free Press:Middlebury College announced on Tuesday that it would divest its endowment from fossil fuels, responding to years of pressure by students and professors and joining the growing list of colleges and universities that have taken the step as a means of combating climate change.Last April, the college’s student government sponsored a student-wide referendum in which almost 80 percent of respondents voted in favor of divestment. A non-binding faculty resolution on divestment passed in November with over 90 percent voting in favor.When the matter first came before Middlebury’s Board of Trustees in 2013, the college declined to commit to divesting its endowment — which now totals over $1 billion — from fossil fuel companies.In its announcement, Middlebury committed to stopping all new investments in fossil fuels by June 2019, and pledged to phase out all of its current investments within 15 years — a timeline that it said would protect the current value of the endowment.Middlebury now joins over 100 other educational institutions worldwide that have committed to some form of fossil fuel divestment, according to data kept by the Fossil Free movement. Middlebury is the fourth school in Vermont to divest, after Goddard College, Sterling College and Green Mountain College.More: After student and faculty pressure, Middlebury College will divest from fossil fuels Middlebury College votes to divest from fossil fuelslast_img read more

Neoen to expand Hornsdale battery in Australia, target new market opportunities

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:French renewable energy and storage developer Neoen has confirmed that the so-called Tesla big battery at Hornsdale in South Australia will get a 50 per cent lift in capacity, and add new innovations and services that will help pave the way for the state to reach its goal of “net 100 per cent renewables”.As reported exclusively in Renew Economy on Monday, the battery – officially known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve – will be the first in Australia to provide digital – or “virtual” – inertia to the grid, an important network service previously only delivered by synchronous machines (coal, gas and hydro).It is estimated that the upgraded battery could provide 3,000 “megawatt seconds”, or 50 per cent of the state’s inertia requirements, meaning that gas generators can be used more sparingly when there is enough wind and solar to meet the state’s electricity demand. It’s another key marker on the road to eliminating fossil fuels from the grid.The addition of hundreds of new Tesla Powerpack batteries – at a cost of $71 million – will add 50MW/64.5MWh capacity to the existing facilities of 100MW/129MWh, lifting its capacity by 50 per cent and reinforcing its ranking as the biggest lithium-ion battery in the world.Neoen said the inertia benefits – dubbed by Tesla as its Virtual Machine Mode (VMM) – would facilitate the transition towards a high-penetration renewable grid. In South Australia, the state Liberal government has a target of “net 100 per cent renewables” by around 2030. Neoen noted that in its first full year of operation, the battery saved consumers more than $50 million, and these savings would continue to grow once the new addition was in place in 2020. It also earned a profit of $22 million in its first full year of operations.“Alongside additional power system reliability and continued cost savings to consumers, the expansion will provide an Australian first large-scale demonstration of the potential for battery storage to provide inertia to the network which is critical to grid stability and the future integration of renewable energy,” Neoen said in a statement.More: Tesla big battery adds new capacity and services on march to 100pct renewables grid Neoen to expand Hornsdale battery in Australia, target new market opportunitieslast_img read more

Southeast utilities cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Dominion also selling gas business

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:One of the largest utilities in America is starting to turn its back on natural gas.Dominion Energy said Sunday that it’s selling substantially all of its natural gas pipeline and storage assets to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. for $4 billion, along with Berkshire’s assumption of $5.7 billion in debt. In a separate statement, the Richmond, Virginia-based company said it also decided with partner Duke Energy Corp. to kill the controversial Atlantic Coast gas pipeline along the U.S. East Coast, citing ongoing delays and “increasing cost uncertainty.”“We offer an industry-leading clean-energy profile,” Dominion Energy Chief Executive Officer Thomas F. Farrell said in a statement, citing the company’s goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and carbon-free electricity generation.Atlantic Coast is the latest gas pipeline to be scrapped by developers after years of delays and mounting costs. Williams Cos. earlier this year pulled the plug on the Constitution natural gas pipeline that would run from Appalachia to New York. Gas projects across America are facing intensifying opposition as local governments and environmentalists push for a transition away from fossil fuels.Berkshire is amassing more than 7,700 miles (12,400 kilometers) of natural gas storage and transmission pipelines and about 900 billion cubic feet of gas storage in the deal with Dominion. Warren Buffett’s conglomerate will also acquire 25% of Cove Point.Dominion said it will use $3 billion of the proceeds to buy back shares. The company cut its projected 2021 dividend payment to around $2.50 a share, reflecting the assets being divested and a new payout ratio that aligns it better with industry peers.[Rachel Adams-Heard and Katherine Chiglinsky]More: U.S. utility giant kills pipeline, ditches gas in Berkshire deal Southeast utilities cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Dominion also selling gas businesslast_img read more

Poland’s PGE utility plans almost $10 billion in renewable energy investments by 2030

first_imgPoland’s PGE utility plans almost $10 billion in renewable energy investments by 2030 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Poland’s largest utility plans to spend 75 billion zloty ($19.4 billion) by 2030 as it aims to become climate-neutral by mid-century.PGE SA seeks to invest half of that amount in renewable energy sources, including offshore and onshore wind as well as solar power plants, it said in a statement on Monday. Its 2050 strategy is conditional on a planned spinoff of coal assets to a separate, state-owned vehicle which will enable PGE to get access to debt financing.“In order to expand, we need to split into two companies,” Chief Executive Officer Wojciech Dabrowski told a news conference in Warsaw. “Today, financial institutions refuse to fund coal ventures.”PGE follows oil refiner and power producer PKN Orlen SA in setting a zero-emission target as Polish corporates are blazing the trail for the country’s government, which is yet to commit to the European Union wide 2050 climate ambition. Poland, which depends on coal for about 70% of electricity generation, is in tough negotiations with the EU and with its own mining unions on how to reach and finance the emission cuts.PGE pledges that by 2030 zero- and low-emission sources will account for 85% of its generation portfolio, while the share of renewable energy will amount to 50% of its total generation. Offshore wind capacity installed in the Baltic Sea should amount to 2.5 gigawatts in 2030 and exceed 6.5 gigawatts by 2040.Separately, the CEO said that once Enea SA and Tauron Polska Energia SA — other state-controlled utilities — spin off their coal assets, their merger with PGE would be “sensible,” but the decision is up to the State Treasury. The spinoff by end-2021 would be “optimal.”[Maciej Martewicz]More: Poland’s PGE to invest $19 billion to meet zero-emissions goallast_img read more

U.S. Energy Department aims for 90% reduction in long-duration battery storage costs by 2030

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):With U.S. energy storage additions on pace to smash records in 2020 and 2021, despite delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Energy Department on Dec. 21 released its first comprehensive storage strategy.The DOE road map aims to scale-up America’s domestic manufacturing industry to meet all of the country’s demand for energy storage by 2030. Given Asia’s early dominant position in producing lithium-ion batteries, however, the United States faces a challenging game of catch-up.The DOE’s strategy appeared the same day Congress passed a $900 billion coronavirus economic relief package that contains $1 billion in investments for energy storage research, development and demonstration as well as extended tax incentives for energy storage systems coupled with solar arrays.As part of its overarching ambition to stimulate domestic energy storage manufacturing, initially announced in January, the DOE is betting on the need for long-duration storage to balance electric grids that increasingly rely on variable renewable energy resources. The agency set a goal for the levelized cost of energy from such resources, which it defines as capable of providing more than 10 hours of storage, to plummet to 5 cents/kWh by 2030, an estimated 90% reduction.Levelized premiums for recent solar-plus-storage contracts in the U.S. Southwest, including mostly four-hour lithium-ion battery systems, have ranged from roughly 0.3 to 1.8 cents per kWh, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, depending on battery system size. The DOE is also exploring alternative technologies to lithium-ion batteries, including pumped hydroelectric storage, zinc-based batteries, flow batteries and green hydrogen.“Achieving this levelized cost target would facilitate commercial viability for storage across a wide range of uses,” the DOE said. That includes meeting peak demand, preparing the grid for electric-vehicle fast charging, ensuring system reliability, boosting the flexibility of individual systems and facilitating “the transformation of the power system,” the agency said.[Garrett Hering]More ($): U.S. energy storage strategy targets domestic manufacturing boom U.S. Energy Department aims for 90% reduction in long-duration battery storage costs by 2030last_img read more

Catch the Wave

first_imgAdam Masters gets a face full of fun riding his bellyak, a body boat for whitewater and flatwater adventure.Body boating is the next big evolution in river adventure.What’s the most memorable and exciting part of whitewater rafting? Falling in. It’s what we tell stories about, what gets photographed, what gets our heart thumping. It’s why spectators set up lawn chairs beside Sweets or Nanny Falls. It’s quite simple: we want to get wet. We secretly—and safely—want to end up in the drink.We may not necessarily want to fall out in a thundering class-V rapid, but there is an instinctive draw to the river—not just floating on top of it in a giant inflatable raft or plastic kayak—but being drenched in it, feeling its power, being a part of it.That instinctive longing for immersion in the river is behind body boating, a new river sport that places you at face level with the fearsome water. Body boating pioneer Adam Masters has designed the bellyak to grow the sport.The bellyak is basically an eight-foot plastic board, indented with a body cavity, that is ridden horizontally, belly-down. The body boater holds on to grips on the front of the board and uses hand paddles to maneuver through the water.“You’re totally one with the water,” says Masters. “It’s like flying through the river.”I had to try it.Last month, I met Masters to body boat some easy rapids on the French Broad River. I strapped on some webbed gloves and hand-paddled out into the current. It was like swimming with a board beneath me. I felt fast, fluid, and free on the river. I could glide and guide with my arms rather than with a clunky paddle.Unlike kayaking, there were no straps or skirts to confine me. There was no fear of being trapped underwater in an upside down kayak. I didn’t have to worry about emptying the water out of my waterlogged canoe. When I flipped on the bellyak, I just climbed back on. Since it’s at water level, it’s easy to get on and off. And unlike riverboarding, my legs and lower torso didn’t get banged to hell.I got a face full of water plunging down class-II ledges, but the bellyak’s hull still floated me over and through the water like a traditional boat and allowed quick direction changes. I could literally reach out and grab an eddy with my arms. I could quickly pull myself behind a rock in the middle of the river or peel out of an eddy along the shore.“Anyone can do this,” Masters explains. “It requires no special skills. It’s a high-reward, low-risk way to explore rivers,” says Masters.Best of all, the bellyak completely changed my perspective of the river. A relatively tame stretch of the French Broad suddenly became an exciting new challenge. Small waves became surf spots; mini-rapids became more riveting, close-up encounters with the water. Surfing a small hole on the French Broad was an in-your-face thrill—without the worry of flipping your boat, losing your paddle, or getting stuck underwater.A wet exit in a kayak or canoe is an ordeal. But on the bellyak, it was part of the fun. I wiped out several times, washed downstream, and hopped back on the board. It took less than ten seconds.At a slim 30 pounds, the bellyak weighs less than most kayaks and is much easier to carry, making for an easy portage back up to the top of the rapids for another run. It’s cheaper than a kayak, too, retailing at $795.Adam Masters has devoted the past five years of his life to the bellyak, chopping up his old kayaks to hone the design of prototypes. Boat innovation is in his blood. His father, Bill Masters, founded Perception Kayaks in 1975 and grew it into one of the most successful companies in the outdoor industry.Designed and hand-built in Asheville, the bellyak is ready to launch a new wave of watersport. Just as stand-up paddleboarding has attracted new enthusiasts to the water, bellyaking provies an intense and intimate river adventure accessible to anyone.Says Masters, “It’s a more simple, pure, and exciting way to experience the river.”For another great August paddling article, check out The Waterman by Chris Gragtmanslast_img read more

Girls At Play: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

first_imgAsheville, N.C. is home base for a kayaking school where girls rule and boys…well, boys simply aren’t allowed. Ontario native Anna Levesque is world-renowned kayaker, yoga instructor, and founder of the kayaking school Girls At Play. After nearly five years touring as a sponsored Dagger boater and competing around the world as a member of the Canadian Freestyle Team, Levesque realized that there was another facet of kayaking she had yet to explore: instruction. In the early 2000s, Levesque was one of only a handful of professional female kayakers, but she had already begun to notice some fundamental differences between men and women regarding paddling techniques and attitudes. After sifting through a kayaking instructional manual that featured only a few photographs of women paddling, Levesque says she was finally inspired to take a break from the pro circuit and invest in a new endeavor.“When I started kayaking, the standard was that you needed to act like a man to be a good kayaker,” Levesque says. “I was on tour with some of the best kayakers in the world, but I really struggled with my confidence because I didn’t feel supported.”When Levesque consulted with other female paddlers, she realized that there was consensus among her fellow athletes: men and women paddle differently. With the help of longtime friend and kayak instructor Ken Whiting and his videographer Chris Emerick, Levesque created the first Girls At Play instructional DVD, which focused on freestyle technique for the ladies. When she premiered the DVD at the nation’s first Whitewater Symposium in 2003, the audience’s response was more than positive; in fact, she received a standing ovation.“It was a proud moment for me,” she says. “I knew that I was really onto something, like I was providing a new paradigm.”The Girls At Play concept took off. Levesque toured the country, offering clinics for women and promoting her DVD. The turnout was spectacular, averaging around 30 women per session, which was an unheard of attendance rate at that time for the predominately male world of whitewater. Levesque says that for women, the most attractive part of her clinics is the supportive group dynamic. She says many male kayakers, particularly at the professional level, are sometimes physically aggressive in their pursuits and can come across as intimidating to an up-and-coming female athlete.“Women tend to hang back and overanalyze consequences a little too much to where it can paralyze them from doing anything,” Levesque says. “Our decisions are emotion-based, and that’s why it’s so important to learn how to tap into your intuition.”Fear has been one of Levesque’s biggest challenges, particularly in learning how to manage and sometimes overcome it while on the river. She says tapping into your instinct is something kayaking truly embodies and is a skill that can be translated into daily life.“I believe the universe doesn’t put anything in front of us that we can’t handle,” she says, “and when things don’t work out like we thought, then there’s something in that experience for us to take away.”Both trusting one’s intuition and embracing the present are values that Levesque teaches in her clinics. From the Main Salmon River in Idaho to rivers in Costa Rica and Nepal, Girls At Play offers more than just kayaking lessons (although a variety of those are offered on a two- and four-day basis). Women who want a true Girls At Play immersion can attend multi-day trips that incorporate kayaking, yoga, and culture, an experience that Levesque says attracts women of all ages and experience levels.“Most of our clients are between the ages of 40 and 70,” she says. “People get this idea that the sport is only for young people, but there are new adventures to be had at any age.”At 40 years old, Girls At Play alumna Claire Latowsky agrees with Levesque’s perspective on adventure. When she first met Levesque, Latowsky says she had very little kayaking experience but was drawn to the opportunities to travel with a group of inspiring women. Now, she has traveled with Girls At Play to Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Main Salmon and has attended multiple clinics based in Asheville.“To run a river is a unique opportunity to see the area from a different perspective,” Latowsky says. “I have learned an incredible amount from the Girls At Play clinics and not just kayaking skills.”Another Girls At Play alumna, Cindy Frost, a 40-year-old firefighter from Texas, has also returned for multiple trips, twice to Mexico, once to the Main Salmon, and a handful of times to the clinics in Asheville.“Anna is superb at drawing parallels about the river and kayaking, which I use to ground myself off the river,” Frost says. “The confidence gained and friendships forged are amazing.”last_img read more

Trail Mix: After Jack

first_imgI was introduced to Jack, the Applachian trickster, when I read The Life and Times of Ray Hicks: Keeper of the Jack Tales, by Lynn Salsi, a few years back. Hicks, the subject of the story, was a storytelling icon. Speaking in an untainted Appalachian dialect borne of the mountains of Western North Carolina, Hicks told stories about Jack and his hijinks. Hicks and his storytelling were legendary, and he spun these yarns for five decades.His stories weren’t lost on Emily, Mary, and Rachel, the threesome who make up After Jack. This all-girl trio is rapidly establishing itself as a player in the Virginia folk music scene. After Jack has some heady festival dates lined up this summer, including one at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival next month. The band also stays busy working with young kids and the theater, a particular passion for the ladies in After Jack.The band is out on the road now supporting Echo, its debut release.Trail Mix caught up with After Jack to chat about the theater, the new record, and – of course – playing Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival in a couple weeks.BRO – You are heading to Telluride for the first time next month. Excited?AJ – We can’t wait! Attending the Telluride Bluegrass Festival has long been a dream of ours and the opportunity to be a part of it is just incredible! It falls in the middle of our first big tour west. We’re looking forward to seeing the country and bringing our music to a whole new audience.BRO – What lessons do you three draw from your theater training when you are on stage singing?AJ – Our live shows are all about energy; of the performance, of the audience, and the magic that happens when we collectively share that experience. Our love of performance, and of the music we share, gives us tremendous respect for each other onstage. Also, you can’t beat a theater background when it comes to stamina for the day to day challenges of the work, both physically and creatively.BRO – Tell me about the importance of your work with Young Audiences.AJ – We’re named after the hero of some of our favorite Appalachian folk tales. Jack is curious and adventurous and lands in trouble in every story, but he always comes out on top because he is lucky and smart. Young Audiences of Virginia is an organization that coordinates live performances for young people, and working with them has given us the opportunity to share our love of Appalachian music and stories with the next generation.BRO – We are featuring “Henry Lee” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?AJ – The song was written by our first “band friend,” David Mantz. He’s an incredible songwriter from Pennsylvania who happened to catch our very first show at Front Porch Fest in Stuart, Virginia, in 2011. We heard him perform “Henry Lee” at the same festival in 2013 and thought how interesting it might be to hear the tale from the woman’s point of view. We recently shot a music video for the song and David appears in it as Daddy; that’s a little trivia that we think is cool. When the video is released – soon!! – listeners can make up their own minds about what they think is going on in the story.BRO – What can we look forward to from you three at Rooster Walk?AJ – During our Saturday main stage set, we’ll be bringing lots of new songs from our recently released record, Echo. These new tunes are all about drawing folks together in celebration of our shared experiences, and we can’t wait to bring that to Rooster Walk. We will also be the pop “minstrels” of the festival this year, so you may have a chance to catch us as we pop around the grounds for tiny, high-energy set here and there. Saturday, mid-day, we’ll also be performing a family oriented show in the kid’s area, so make sure to catch that if you’d like to hear more about Jack.For more information on After Jack, how you can get your hands on Echo, or upcoming tour dates, point your browser to www.afterjackband.com.Also, fans new and old can catch the band Saturday, May 24t, at Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival, proud sponsors of this month’s Trail Mix!In fact, Trail Mix would like to give you a shot at catching After Jack’s set at Rooster Walk, along with all of the other Saturday goings on, by offering up the trivia question below. Email your answer to dave@blueridgeoutdoors.com. A winner of two Saturday passes will be chosen from all of the correct answers received by noon EST on Friday.Question . . . . . Echo, After Jack’s new record, was produced by Aaron Ramsey, a member of what popular bluegrass band?Good luck!last_img read more